follow us in feedly
When Debbie Harry wrestled Andy Kaufman, 1983
04.04.2016
10:05 am

Topics:
Amusing
History

Tags:


Caitlan Clarke, Andy Kaufman and Debbie Harry,1983

Teaneck Tanzi: The Venus Flytrap was a 1983 Broadway play that starred Debbie Harry as “Tanzi,” Caitlan Clarke as “Tanzi” and Andy Kaufman as the “referee.” Debbie Harry and Caitlin Clarke had to alternate in the lead role of “Tanzi” because of the strenuous nature of the wrestling.

Apparently the play didn’t do too well, though. Despite its success in London, Teaneck Tanzi closed on Broadway after just a single performance.

From a 2007 Gothamist interview with Debbie Harry:

What can you tell us about your Broadway debut alongside Andy Kaufman in Teaneck Tanzi?

The Venus Flytrap? [Laughs.] Well, it was a very interesting little musical play. At the time, way back in the beginning of the ‘80s, Chris [Stein, co-founder of Blondie] and I were very big wrestling fans and we used to go to the Garden all the time because we had a friend who did all the promotion there and she would get us ringside seats. We had a great time and started going to wrestling many, many years before Cyndi [Lauper] starting hanging out with Lou Albano. So then all of a sudden I got this script and I thought it could be really fun. So we did the show for about three weeks in previews, downtown in a nice sort of loft space Off Off-Broadway. And it was great; the audiences were loud and everybody was shouting at the wrestlers just like a real wrestling match. And then they decided they were going to open it on Broadway and it opened and closed almost instantly! So I guess it was a little bit premature for Broadway.

 

 

 

 

More after the jump…
 

Posted by Tara McGinley | Leave a comment
‘The Legend of the Fall’: A slapdash cartoon love letter to Mark E. Smith
04.01.2016
12:09 pm

Topics:
Art
History
Music

Tags:


Panel #12: “And Mark said the three R’s were ‘Repetition, Repetition, Repetition….”
 
I learned recently that antifolk musician and comix artist Jeffrey Lewis is a huge fan of the Fall, which, as it happens, I am as well. Lewis tends to celebrate his artistic heroes in his songs and artwork; some of his song titles are “Williamsburg Will Oldham Horror” and “The Chelsea Hotel Oral Sex Song.”

One senses in Lewis’ love for Smith a respectful acknowledgment from one ultra-prolific artist to another. Lewis has fashioned a kind of “Where’s Waldo” poster involving many, many, many Fall tracks, under the title “100 Fall Songs,” which actually contains visual references to 112 Fall ditties. You can buy that at his website, and it even comes with a key so that you can test your Fall knowledge.

In 2007 and 2008 Lewis was given to a quickie “documentary” (his term) about the Fall that he would do in his live shows; maybe he’s done it since but he was definitely doing it at that time. The title of the piece is “The Legend of the Fall,” and if that puts you in the mind of a certain Jim Harrison novella that was turned into a Brad Pitt movie, you’re not alone.
 

Panel #16: “...who worked hard writing, touring, and recording….”
 
The “documentary” consists of twenty-odd panels drawn by Lewis himself, that were concocted to accompany amusing doggerel of rhyming couplets that Lewis had written describing the tumultuous history of the Manchester band.

Here’s an example of the couplets: 
 

Mark and his friends bounced ideas off the wall
He was gonna dress up & they were gonna call themselves “Flyman and the Fall”
Then they settled on “The Fall” after the Camus book
Though Mark couldn’t sing a note & didn’t care how square he looked

 
Panel #19 refers to a gig in 1998 when Smith punched a band member onstage and got arrested—DM published an in-depth chronicle of that memorable gig (complete with video!) last year.

More after the jump…

Posted by Martin Schneider | Leave a comment
Beautiful women from over 100 years ago as seen on vintage postccards
03.29.2016
12:56 pm

Topics:
History
Pop Culture

Tags:


 
Flickr user Postman has amassed a terrific collection of vintage postcards dated from around 1900 to the 1920s featuring gorgeous women from around the world. I just love these. Not one duckface to be seen among them.

Beautiful then, and beautiful now. How did the standard of beauty come to be the Kardashian sisters? It must’ve crept up on us at some point.


 

 

 
More after the jump…

Posted by Tara McGinley | Leave a comment
The black magic ‘hexing party’ to kill Adolf Hitler with voodoo, 1941
03.28.2016
12:50 pm

Topics:
History
Media
Occult

Tags:


Florence Birdseye chants above an effigy of Hitler, 1941.
 
William Seabrook was a well-known occultist (and, not coincidentally, a buddy of Aleister Crowley) who in 1940 had published a fairly popular book called Witchcraft: Its Power in the World Today.

On a wet evening in January 1941, Seabrook and “a youthful band of idealists” convened at a cabin in the Maryland woods—they made sure to bring a whole bunch of rum from Jamaica, land of voodoo—with a single, lofty aim: “to kill Adolf Hitler by voodoo incantation.” A report of the event, complete with photographs, made for one of the odder features ever to appear in LIFE Magazine, under the title “LIFE Goes to a Hexing Party.”

The event had curious connections to the federal government, it seems. The tom-tom drums were borrowed, according to LIFE, from the U.S. Department of the Interior. Furthermore, LIFE described the group of voodoo practitioners as “respectable residents of Washington, D.C.,” and the cabin in which it all took place belonged to a man named Charles Tupper, who was an employee in a naval factory. The group brought, in LIFE’s words, “a dressmaker’s dummy, a Nazi uniform, nails, axes, tom-toms and plenty of Jamaica rum.” The dummy and the uniform were needed for the life-sized effigy that the group was going to create of Hitler.

One fascinating thing about this escapade is that the United States was not yet at war with Germany. That would have to wait nearly a year, when the Japanese attacked the United States naval base at Pearl Harbor on December 7.

The ritual, prepared by Seabrook, invoked a pagan deity named Istan and incorporated the following phrases, to be intoned at the effigy:

“You are Hitler; Hitler is you! ... The woes that come to you, let it come to him! ... Hitler! You are the enemy of man and of the world; therefore we curse you. ... We curse you by every tear and drop of blood you have caused to flow. We curse you with the curses of all who have cursed you!”

After every line the whole group would repeat, “We curse you!”

They also chanted in unison: “We are driving nails and needles into Adolf Hitler’s heart!”

Incidentally, one of Seabrook’s claims to fame was that he once ... dined with cannibals! According to him, human flesh is pretty tasty: “It was like good, fully developed veal, not young, but not yet beef . . . and it was not like any other meat I had ever tasted.” Not chicken?

It took several years, but the United States and its allies France, Great Britain, and the USSR defeated the Axis Powers in 1945.

Here is a gallery of images from this oh-so-peculiar event. Clicking will spawn a larger version, for all images not in portrait orientation.
 

Revelers make their way to a “hex party” in the Maryland woods, 1941.
 

Chief hexer Ted Caldwell intones an incantation. On the right, in dark shirt and tie, is author William Seabrook. Hitler’s effigy sits with its back to the window.
 
More of these remarkable pictures after the jump….......

Posted by Martin Schneider | Leave a comment
Serial killers, death masks and other strange 100-year-old wax anatomical anomalies
03.28.2016
07:52 am

Topics:
History
Science/Tech

Tags:

100-year-od wax head/bust of a man showing its age
100-year-old wax head/bust of a man showing its age.
 
What is said to be the largest collection of anatomical wax figures to ever be on public display, including a life-sized version of horrific German serial killer Friedrich Heinrich Karl “Fritz” Haarmann (called the “Vampire of Hanover” and “the Wolf Man” due to penchant for sawing through his unfortunate victims throats with his teeth), can be seen at Brooklyn’s Morbid Anatomy Museum.
 
The wax feet and legs of German serial killer Friedrich Heinrich Karl “Fritz” Haarmann and pieces of his victims
The wax feet and legs of German serial killer Friedrich Heinrich Karl “Fritz” Haarmann and pieces of his victims.
 

“Moulages” (the casting and molding of “mock” injuries for training/instructional purposes) of patients with lupus and leprosy.
 
A female anatomical figure displaying the effects of wearing tight corseting
A female anatomical figure displaying the effects of wearing tight corseting.
 
More after the jump…

Posted by Cherrybomb | Leave a comment
Satan’s Chillen & Screamin’ Demons: Awesome personalized World War II leather bomber jackets
03.25.2016
09:40 am

Topics:
Art
Fashion
History

Tags:


 
Here are some personalized, hand-painted A-2 flight jackets from World War II brought to you by D. Sheley‘s collection on Flickr.

Apparently the A-2 jacket was the standard flight jacket every man received during the war. It’s interesting to see everyone’s personality still shine through from their lovingly adorned jackets. 


 

 
More after the jump…

Posted by Tara McGinley | Leave a comment
September 17, 1970: The last photographs of Jimi Hendrix
03.18.2016
10:16 am

Topics:
History
Music

Tags:


 
The day before Jimi Hendrix died on September 17, 1970, these serene photographs were taken during his stay at the Samarkand Hotel. Jimi can be seen enjoying his favorite Fender Stratocaster guitar, a spot of tea and some outdoor activities. Apparently Hendrix and his girlfriend, Monika Danneman, spent the majority of the sunny day strolling King’s Road, shopping for clothes at the Chelsea antiques market and visiting the Cumberland Hotel.

These are the last known photographs ever taken of the great rock guitarist, who tragically died at the age of 27 from a barbiturate overdose. Dannemann revealed years later that Hendrix had taken nine of her prescription Vesparax sleeping pills, many, many times the recommended dosage.


 

 

 
More after the jump…
 

Posted by Tara McGinley | Leave a comment
Iggy Pop: ‘America is a nation of midgets led by dwarves’ plus Iggy hates Led Zeppelin. Who knew?
03.18.2016
09:21 am

Topics:
Amusing
History
Music

Tags:


 
Here’s an amusing letter written by Iggy Pop to journalist Joshua Berger following an interview they did together for Plazm magazine in 1995. Iggy was in Warsaw at that time on a tour of Europe.

I have no idea how the hell he fit all that text on Delta stationery. But he did, thankfully. There are so many choice quotes from this letter…

Today I learned Iggy Pop hates Led Zeppelin.

WARSAW

PHLASH: nation of midgets

the arts in America today are above all else. Successful artists live like gods. They are REMOTE and useless. the painting and sculpture generally on offer ranges from coy & cute to incomprehensible & huge. Everybody’s sick of it, but it’s exactly what it’s patrons deserve. These people are corrupt and frigid. America today is a nation of midgets led by dwarves. The midgets are small and normal. The dwarves are small and warped. The sickness comes from the top down.

The ‘music’ is mostly 60’s and 70’s rehash, esp. LED ZEPPELIN, who i never could stand in the first place. Also ‘folk-rock’ is back as ‘alternative’. gimme a break. the ‘bands’ dress this mess up in various ‘HIP’ clothes and ‘political’ postures to encode a ‘lock’ on social belonging which you can open by purchasing a combination of products, especially their own, none of them have fuck-all to say.

I hate the inane worship of gross ‘supermodels’ and i positively loathe Calvin Klein ads and that whole school of photography. it is not beautiful. Our gods are assholes.

There are continual ‘shock and rage’ movements in the performing/conceptual arts, but are they bringing anybody a good time? they bring filth death & loathing of self as fashion. I understand them, though. People are lost and frustrated, AND UNSKILLED.

Our country is stupid and degenerate. Nobody is here. People are starving. No one talks to you. No one comments. You are cut off. No one is straight. TV morons. A revolution is coming, and in reaction, a strongman will emerge. Everything sucks. Don’t bother me.

i hate it all. heavy metal. hollywood movies. SCHPOLOOGY! YeHEHCHH! - Iggy Pop

Tell us how you really feel, Jim! Shit, this was written in 1995. Imagine how pissed off Iggy must be in 2016!
 

 
More after the jump…

Posted by Tara McGinley | Leave a comment
Spellbinding portraits of Native Americans in beautiful, surreal traditional ceremonial costumes
03.15.2016
01:30 pm

Topics:
History

Tags:

03curtis.jpg
 
The person who has the camera and takes the photograph can often influence how we remember things. That’s why it’s always good idea to put on your best face kids, when someone’s taking your picture—you don’t want to be remembered as a sad sack.

Edward Sheriff Curtis (1868-1952) had a camera. He took a lot of photographs. Between the late 1800s and the 1930s he took some 40,000 photographs of the many different Native American peoples. Curtis’ first portrait of a Native American was taken in 1895. He photographed Princess Angeline—the daughter of Si’ahl, a powerful American Indian chief for whom the city of Seattle was named. The Princess was down on her luck selling clams to make a living. Curtis paid her a dollar to sit and have her portrait taken. He noted in his journal:

This seemed to please her greatly, and with hands and jargon she indicated that she preferred to spend her time having pictures made than in digging clams.

The son of a clergyman, Curtis was born on his parents’ farm in Whitewater, Wisconsin in 1868. He had two brothers and one sister. When the family moved to Seattle, he set up a photography studio with his brother Asahel. The evangelizing influence of his father’s occupation probably set Edward Sheriff Curtis out on his thirty year quest to document the Native Americans. Curtis literally feared the native Americans were on verge of being eradicated.

The passing of every old man or woman means the passing of some tradition, some knowledge of sacred rites possessed by no other… consequently the information that is to be gathered, for the benefit of future generations, respecting the mode of life of one of the great races of mankind, must be collected at once or the opportunity will be lost for all time.

Some have criticized Curtis for creating an overly romantic image of Native Americans. Erasing modern objects (clocks, personal belongings) from photographs. Depicting them in traditional clothing. An image that did little to document the contemporary realities of their lives. Despite the criticisms, his work is a connection to the wealth of history and culture which could have undoubtedly been lost. As Laurie Lawlor has written, at a time when Native American culture was being proscribed by government, Curtis was “far ahead of his contemporaries in sensitivity, tolerance and openness to Native American cultures and ways of thinking.  He sought to observe and understand by going directly into the field.”

Apart from the 40,000 photos of over 80 tribe, he also recorded:

10,000 wax cylinder recordings of Native American language and music. He compiled biographical sketches of different tribal leaders, detailed customs, clothes, food, rituals, and tribal folklore. Many of these documents are the only recorded history–though a strong oral tradition remains.

This small collection captures some of the Native American ceremonial costumes which are by turn beautiful, surreal and haunting.
 
07curtis.jpg
 
11curtis.jpg
 
More of Edward Sheriff Curtis’ photographs, after the jump….

Posted by Paul Gallagher | Leave a comment
Human Zoos: Europe’s dirty racist secret
03.09.2016
11:50 am

Topics:
History
Race
Stupid or Evil?

Tags:

022kolonialhumger.jpg
 
Brussels is the capital of Belgium. It is the major city within the nineteen municipalities that make up the Brussels-Capital Region.

Since the end of the Second World War, Brussels has been home to a large population of politicians, diplomats, civil servants, businesses and industrialists. It is closely tied to the European Union and has been dubbed the “de facto capital” of the European Union since the 1970s. It’s Europe’s Washington. DC.

Brussels is where the European Commission (that august government branch of the EU) and the Council of the European Union (the well-respected legislative body made up of those jolly executives of member states) are based. It is city that represents the humanitarian values of a civilized and prosperous Europe.

But wait.

Not so long ago, indeed within living memory, Brussels was the last bastion of a racist sideshow called the “human zoo.”

In 1958 Brussels held the first World’s Fair since the end of the Second World War. Between April and October of that year, the Exposition Universelle et Internationale de Bruxelles gave testament to the shared ideals of equality and fraternity, the innovation of industry and a very real humanitarian hope for a peaceful and prosperous future.

Among the many major exhibits at Expo 58 that celebrated this hope for a better world were the massive building-cum-sculpture the Atomium—or “load of balls” as some have since described it—designed by engineer André Waterkeyn and architects André & Jean Polak; and the Philips Pavilion where composer Edgard Varèse premiered his seminal eight minute work Poème électronique—which followed a naive and simplistic narrative of the development of life and civilization towards a universal “harmony.”

In amongst all these space age wonders and exhibits from countries across the world was the Belgian Pavilion. Here visitors could find all that was best about Belgium including one small enclosure where the public flocked to pet and feed the exhibits.

Look here comes one now. A middle-aged matron in finely cut dress, coat and hat, wearing early designer sunglasses. Doesn’t she look chic? Let’s watch as this no doubt charming woman leans over the fence that surrounds the enclosure to feed one of the humans inside—a small black girl.
 
07humzoogirl.jpg
 
Horrendous isn’t it? Shocking. Horrific. Unbelievable. Like some dystopian sci-fi movie.

But to the 41 million people who visited Expo 58 this scene of unbridled racism caused little concern to the public—no upset, and no fury. No nothing.

You’d think after the racist atrocities of the Second World War that maybe, just maybe, Europeans might have developed a little more respect for their fellow man. But no, apparently not.

Human zoos, where white Europeans could go and see people from other ethnic backgrounds exhibited in cages, or in specially built villages for entertainment purposes is one of the biggest, dirtiest, and most shameful racist “secrets” of European history. Which no amount of saying “the past is a different country, they did things differently there” will ever excuse.
 
023acclimhumzoo.jpg
A poster advertising a ‘human zoo’ in Paris.
 
This wasn’t the Middle Ages. This was 1958. The year NASA was formed. The year the microchip was invented. The year the American Express card was introduced. When the hula-hoop was the #1 toy. When Elvis Presley joined the US Army. When Marilyn Monroe and Jayne Mansfield were the world’s pinups. When The Bridge on the River Kwai cleaned up at the Oscars and Steve McQueen terrified audience in his fight with The Blob. When the Yankees won the World Series and Brazil took the World Cup. The year the forerunner of the EU, the European Economic Community (EEC) was formed. This is within our pop culture timeline of rock ‘n’ roll, drugs and teenage rebellion. Your parents, grandparents, great-grandparents and great-great grandparents might even have attended themselves.
 
Keep reading after the jump…

Posted by Paul Gallagher | Leave a comment
Page 3 of 176  < 1 2 3 4 5 >  Last ›